Last month I had the joy to speak at the Sister’s of Stone Fall Women’s Retreat about something I believe so so strong in-using our words to encourage one another! My prayer in the weeks leading up to the retreat my prayer was that it would be about HIM and not me.
God answered my prayer, but not in the way I expected. The evening before the talk my sweet sister was admitted to the ICU. (Praise Jesus she is out of the hospital and doing MUCH better now!) My big plan to spend the afternoon smoothing out the wrinkles in my talk and make sure I had funny and engaging stories that illustrated my speaking points was replaced with time with an evening at the hospital and time with my brave sister and amazing family. God’s grace allowed me to share from my heart and I was greatly reminded that HIS power is truly made perfect in weakness. That morning my words may not have been eloquent or refined, but I have no doubt that they were from Him. Friend, God is able to use your messy bits to speak truth and life.
Proverbs 18:21 says “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Every day we have the opportunity to speak encouragement or bring destruction with our words. When I was younger, my parents would always have us say three nice things for every negative thing we said about our sibling. We would roll our eyes (sorry mom!) and my brother would almost alway reply with “I like your hair, shoes and clothes.” Hilarious, yes, but the greatest lesson was that our relationships with each other mattered too much to be destroyed by a few careless words.
So, if our tongue has the power to bring life or death, how do we speak life?? Your words begin with your thoughts “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. FOR THE MOUTH SPEAKS WHAT THE HEART IS FULL OF!”
When you first meet someone, are your first thoughts ones of jealously, judgement, or comparison or are they thoughts of support, hope and courage?
”Watch your thoughts for they become words. What your words for they become actions. Watch your actions because they become your habits, watch your habits for they become your character” –Margaret Thatcher
The amazing thing is that we don’t have to rely on our own power to control our thoughts or words. When we choose to rely on God’s sufficient grace, his power transforms our thoughts and words from ugly to beautiful. If we are going to be women of encouragement, we need to take captive every negative thought and champion each other with not only our words but our thoughts.
Authentic encouragement meets people where they are at. I’ve struggled with this one so many times, when I’ve been frustrated in relationships it’s because I’m holding that person up to some ridiculous standard, not a standard of love and grace. The simple prayer “Lord, help me to see others as you see them.” will break your heart for the people in your path. When you see the heartbreak, struggles, gifts, talents and joys of those in your life you meet them where they are and your encouragement is authentic. Cheer them on, affirm their talents, and champion their dreams!
Most importantly, encourage out of LOVE not obligation. We are called to encourage one another, to use our words to build one another up, but more then that we are called to love. Let your words show your love. Speak Life.